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League fines Vikings coach Childress $35K for public criticism

After a narrow loss to a bitter division rival, Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress seethed at what he called "the worst-officiated game I've seen."

On Tuesday, he paid for it.

The NFL fined Childress $35,000 for criticizing officials and disclosing confidential conversations with the league's officiating department.

Childress sharply criticized the officiating crew after Sunday night's 28-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He was particularly upset with a replay reversal of a touchdown catch by Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. He also was upset by a facemask call against right tackle Phil Loadholt and a non-call on a hold that enabled Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to scramble for a first down.

The biggest play was Shiancoe's touchdown catch. He made a diving grab in the end zone and appeared to secure the ball as he rolled onto his back. Officials ruled it a touchdown but, upon review, overturned the call. The Vikings had to settle for a field goal.

Childress first rebuked the officials on the postgame radio show on KFAN. He continued his criticism in his postgame news conference, saying "50 drunks in a bar" would have made the correct call on Shiancoe's catch.

On Monday, Childress told the media that he spoke to Carl Johnson, the league's vice president of officiating, about the missed call.

"I was told this morning that that was a touchdown by Carl Johnson," Childress said. "He was disappointed to see that reversed."

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That, apparently, is another no-no in the NFL.

An NFL spokesman said Childress was fined "for violating long-standing league policies that prohibit public criticism of officiating and the disclosure of confidential conversations with the head of the NFL officiating department."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday that league policy is not to comment on conversations between Johnson and the clubs. Aiello said Johnson "is obligated to give his factual opinion of any call that is questioned by a club." But the policy also "states that all such conversations are confidential and are not to be discussed publicly," Aiello said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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